Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A taste of the caribbean

The sunshine has finaly made an appearance! Seeing as the rain has decided to take a little back seat for a while I decided to whip up something that made me feel warm and fuzzy and bring back memories of the summer with good music, good beer and good stew! Hang on to your hats dear readers.. this one will hit your taste buds hard and make you want to jump around and start playing the steel drums... well maybe that is just me...

serves 3 as a main

You will need:

1 small sweet potato diced
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 large carrot diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/3 cup of quinoa grain
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoons of tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 of a block of creamed coconut
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
medium green chilli finely chopped- optional
chopped pineapple- optional
to garnish- fresh parsley 

Start by placing the chopped onion, garlic, oil and spices into a deep pan on a medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic a little- do not burn them.

Add the vegetables, creamed coconut block and the tine of tomatoes. Use the empty can of tomatoes to fill with water and add to the saucepan. Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for 5-10 minutes.

Stir the stew then add in the quinoa. Continue to simmer without the lid for 20 minutes and keep stiring every few minutes. 

Turn the heat off and leave for 15 minutes (this will allow the stew to thicken and settle) 

Make this, eat it and tell me what you think :)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Raw lunch Thursday

Hello dear readers, I've been a little under the weather recently and haven't been in the "recipe creating" mood. Today I'm feeling a bit better and thought i'd kick this cold in the butt with a completely raw lunch! Bring it on germs! So I made a raw spicy tomato and nut burger, topped with a slice of raw cashew cheese and munched it down with loads of salad.

It was all very easy to make (considering i'm germ ridden and achy.. it will be a doss for you lot :p). The burgers are really versatile and would be great in a lettuce wrap with some raw salsa and raw cheese!

The raw cheese has a sticky consistency.. a bit "peanut buttery" but cheesy.. need to work on this.. any suggestions? It's great as a spread but not so great in chunks/slices.

For the raw burgers :
Makes two burgers

1 cup of almonds
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 red/ orange pepper
1cm (roughly) of fresh green medium chili (you can substitute this for some cayenne pepper or leave it out)
3 cherry tomatoes
5 sundried tomatoes
1/2 a shallot 
1 teaspoon hemp oil/ coconut oil
half a teaspoon paprika
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

In a blender pulse the almonds and sunflower seeds until a very fine almost powder consistency. Place these in a mixing bowl for the time being.
Combine all the other ingredients in the blender and pulse until smooth. Add to the mixing bowl and combine all ingredients. This should be a sort of doughy consistency. You can add more oil or a touch of water if it's too dry.
Shape into rounds an place on grease-proof paper on a baking tray.
Turn your oven onto it's lowest setting and leave the door ajar, dehydrate these for 20 minutes.

For the "cheese"

1 cup of cashew nuts
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon hemp oil
pinch of salt and pepper

Pulse the cashew nuts until a flour consistency. Keep pulsing until the cashew begin to stick to the sides of the blender. Using a spoon scrape the cashews off the sides and pulse again. The mixture will gradually become more sticky and form a dough, add the nutritional yeast and oil and blend until smooth. Place mixture into clingfilm and form into desired shape. Keep in the fridge for 4 days. (or spread loads on toast and top with tomatoes and roasted veg and have yourself a mini pizza :) )

Friday, 3 January 2014

New health for a new year

It's officially been a year since I turned vegan and I haven't looked back! I also don't want to "jinx" it but I haven't become unwell since! I binge out on all the same stuff like pizzas, chocolate and of course lots of cake... but I also try to eat raw at least twice a week, drink lots of water and have smoothies everyday! For those of you who had a bit of an over-indulgent xmas and new years this smoothie is sure to get you back on track with a massive boost of energy! Hurrrahhh bring on the greens!

Makes 2-3 servings

For this jug of awesomeness you will need:

1/3 cup of cashew nuts
2 handfuls of chopped kale
1/4 cup of pitted dates
1 apple peeled and cored
1 banana
the juice of half a lime
1 1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of creamed coconut/ 1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 scoop of hemp powder

Start by blender the cashews into a powder, add the kale and pulse then add all the other ingredients and blend until smooth. This is seriously yummy and will make you want to finish the whole batch!!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Tis the season to eat loads of vegan food!!!!

So the Christmas season is drawing to a close and I reckon I've gained a few pounds over the past few weeks hehe! I've indulged in some tasty vegan treats and spoiled my tummy rotten! Don't get me wrong here.. I am actually one of the most frugal people you will meet (i'm not a tight-ass though I just spend very wisely and make do with what I've got)
I bulk baked mince pies and cookies for presents this year (didn't get a chance to take any pics.. must have been a good sign they liked them) I took a frozen piece of nutroast to my dads for Christmas dinner, made most of my gifts/ bought second hand and other little tokens and gave no cards this year; they only end up in the recycling bin after a week or so.
I have a tradition with a group of my friends where the following rules apply: Presents must be found, freebies, homemade, for charity or acquired (I don't mean shoplift.. perhaps a tin full of a friends favorite free sauce sachets you've picked up over a few meals out). This always makes Christmas more exciting and saves a few bob from your wallet too! Some of the gifts I got this year included home made peanut butter infused vodka, home made vegan chocolate truffles, and a second hand Disney puzzle- very impressed with my friends skills :)
We get together for what we call "Friendmas" this involves watching some xmas films making soup (the grated cheese in the soup is vegan don't panic), swapping prezzies, drinking mulled wine (this year we even added vegan eggnog to our feast) and generally vegging out on the sofa!

mmm Vodka! Saving this for a rainy evening and a good film! Perhaps a vegan reese's cocktail of some sort! Any suggestions?

One of the tastiest truffles ever! Plus they look like mini xmas puddings which is totally adorable!- My friends are so creative!!! (Excuse the blurry photo.. shaky with excitement and sugar hehe)

Leek and potato soup with vegan cheese and crusty bread... *dribble*

Mulled wine in a German mulled wine mug :)
How was your Christmas? How do you celebrate with friends? Any fun traditions? I want to hear about it! Leave me a comment pretty people :)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Pitta pizzas

Pizza pizza pizza... it's been on my mind a lot recently and I just can't seem to find a quick decent tasting vegan alternative. I experimented with some pitta breads and my-oh-my I am a pitta convert!! You've got to try these bad boys out.. serious deliciousness and super quick to whip up.

Makes 1 pizza

You'll need:

1 round wholemeal pitta bread for each pizza you want to make
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
a few slices of red onion
1 slice of basil marinated tofu (you can get this in most health food shops or places like waitrose)
1 sundried tomato finely chopped
1 small handful of rocket
hemp/carotina oil and balsamic vinegar to drizzle on the top

So you spread some tomato puree on the pitta, top with the onion, sundried tomato and basil tofu and bake in the oven for 5 minutes! Top with some rocket, oil and vinegar and munch down on this delicious treat!!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Raw stuffed mushrooms

These are seriously delicious and a pleasure to create! The whole house smells delicious and inviting when these are being prepared!! I used a dehydrator to create these but you can also use your oven on it's lowest possible setting with the door open slightly.

You will need:

A flat mushroom
1 tablespoon flaxseed/linseeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 large ripe tomato
half a teaspoon of dried oregano
pinch of sea salt

Place the oil, vinegar, pepper and garlic in a bowl; this is the marinade for the mushroom. Place the mushroom in the bowl and rub the marinade into the mushroom, set aside for 20 minutes.

In a blender combine the tomato, flaxseed, oregano and sea salt.

Place the mushroom in your dehydrator for around 3 hours, the smells from this are mouth-watering! 

Once your mushroom is done fill with the tomato topping, I like to place mine back in the dehydrator for another 20-40 minutes to release those yummy smells again :)

I prepared 10 of these at once because it is a bit of a long process for one mushroom... but seriously worth it!!!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

An exciting adventure

Hello dear readers,
The last couple of days have been a mixture of excitement and exhaustion. It's been hectic in my household and I mean this in a good way! As some of you know this website and my work in the field of "vegan food" has done extremely well over the last 6 months; achieving two blog awards and being published in various magazines. These were outstanding achievements for myself and the blog and I couldn't have got the awards without the votes.. so thank you! Originally I started up the blog as a place to keep my recipes (so I wouldn't keep losing them or spilling stuff on them or setting them on fire... I'm a little clumsy in the kitchen hehe) however it seems fate/karma had other plans for me!
ADVANCED WARNING...This is the part of the blog entry where things get a bit misty eyed and sentimental and personal.. please feel free to skip to the next paragraph. This year has been a huge deal for me. Some close friends and family already know all of this but I now feel ready to share with my readers. At Christmas last year I suffered a time of crisis, a breakdown of everything possible including my communication. I ended up quite unwell and after a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder was made I began different types of grueling treatment. When I started this blog as a hobby back in February (just after my birthday) I never expected that it would be the main thing pushing me towards recovery. It has been the one thing that managed to get me out of bed on a day to day basis even if I had to crawl to my laptop. When I've been in a bad place I've expressed myself through food and I truly believe it has helped me!
So now to the really exciting bit. About a month or so ago I was having a little check online for possible jobs and came across an ad for a vegan chef. After about an hour of talking myself in and out of applying I finally gave in and thought "why not?" I'm not a culinary school trained chef by any means but sometimes it's not all about what's on the paper, so I sent off my portfolio with a covering letter and thought no more. For those of you who've tried searching for a job after being out of work for a while, I'm sure you can relate to the "expected rejection"mindset. A couple of days later I received an email stating how much of an "inspiration" I was and that my portfolio was great (at this point I literally danced around my bedroom). It's always such a confidence boost to get feedback like that! However the email then went on to explain the position and offered me an informal interview. "Fantastic" I thought it would be a good experience regardless of if I was successful or not. So to skip along a bit (I'm sure some eyelids are beginning to droop a little by now :p) I got the job!
The place I'm working for is a chiropractic centre based in Hillingdon that focuses on natural health. Arena wellness is made up of a team of wonderful people who work really long days and I'm blessed to have been offered such an amazing opportunity! Thank you to everyone who has supported my vegan journey so far, I hope you continue to visit the blog in the future :)
Much love and peace!